Is Gluten-Free a Scam?
Gluten has become a loaded word in today's society, but it is not necessarily a scam. It has however, been a topic that marketers have completely blown out of proportion. The truth is we have eaten gluten, the protein found in wheat, for thousands of years, but as many scientists have stated, today's wheat is not the same as it used to be. The fact is we no longer eat whole wheat, we eat refined white flour. This unnatural product is causing problems in the digestive tract and since the immune system reacts to proteins, gluten is taking the hit.
My concern is that people are trying out the gluten-free craze because their digestive tracts have become compromised and the scare of celiac is in the air, but this is how I often see it done. People buy gluten-free pizza dough, gluten-free bread, gluten-free cookies, and gluten-free beer. I observed my husband the year he found (by test) to be sensitive to gluten. Craving all of his regular foods, he bought every marketed item that was gluten-free, just because he could. His sensitivity did not get better which is usually when I see most people give up entirely. We decided to take him off all of the gluten-free garbage as well. He did see improvements after 21 days of no wheat, however he had also eaten no GMO corn, no refined sugar, and no soy.
The gluten-free treats use poor quality ingredients that further wreck havoc on the digestive system. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but after three months of gluten-free gluttony, if you are still eating other garbage, you will not see improvements. Here is an example of the ingredients of a very popular brand of "gluten-free" bread carried at most stores.
When you begin to read, it seems healthy: water, tapioca starch, millet, brown rice. Then we get into more concerning ingredients: resistant corn starch, canola oil, cane syrup, dried cane syrup, guar gum (which is corn), corn syrup solids, etc etc. So many types of GMO corn, refined sugars and bad oils, it is no wonder our symptoms do not improve with this product.
I noticed this when I went to order a pizza for my son at one of the top silicon valley tech companies which has a nice kitchen as most of them do. I wanted the least harmful pizza available and the ingredients were listed at the counter. I could choose a normal wheat pizza which has "GLUTEN", most likely from refined white flour so one bad ingredient. Or I could choose the popular gluten-free brand of crust which had seven ingredients I knew to be harmful to the digestive system, especially GMO corn and 4 different kinds of sugar. I chose the regular pizza crust for my son and loaded it with cheese and protein to slow down the absorption rate of those empty carbs in hopes he would not experience a sugar rush followed by the inevitable crash.
The problem with the current wheat is that it is milled into white flour and so highly refined that the vitamins and nutrients it once contained are removed. The gluten, however remains in amounts that are way out of proportion and it is no longer really wheat. This product spikes the blood sugar and can lead to diabetes and disease. When our ancestors did eat wheat with its nutrients intact, they made recipes with fats like Yorkshire Pudding or fermented the grain until it was easy to digest. Today most of our foods contain high amounts of gluten without the vitamins and natural fats in the wheat germ, and we eat fat free versions of them all day long. From the white flour in your morning bagel, to your crackers and cheese snack, in your salad dressing and in the soup for lunch, in the pasta and in the sauce for dinner, and don't forget those few cookies for dessert. Our bodies were not built to be inundated with this much refined white flour, the disproportionate gluten, and added sugar and bad oils.
My advice is to work on healing your gut by avoiding all wheat temporarily. Unfortunately, our country does not find making edible healthy food a priority. The refined white flour has been tested and found to cause a huge range of inflammation in the body and the brain, leaky gut, sinus problems, and autoimmune diseases. My advice is to really go gluten-free by avoiding all wheat products and gluten-free products that could confuse the body and further deteriorate the digestive lining. See if your symptoms have improved within three weeks and then try your favorite wheat treat. Make sure to use the best organic whole wheat you can find and notice if you have any symptoms in the next 24 hours.
For me, the symptoms occur almost immediately. You can see for yourself if your body is reacting to a food. if your body recruits your immune system to rid the body of the invader by sneezing, coughing, GERD, diarrhea you will know two things. 1. You have a stellar immune system and 2. You have a food sensitivity and thus a compromised digestive system. In my case the symptoms happen within 24 hours and then I can recover so eating a heritage wheat treat now and then is possible. Here are a few things you can do to deal with food sensitivities.
Dealing with Food Sensitivities
- Join us in the Food Foundation Summer Detox January 5, 2015 for some guidance while healing your gut in a very simple elimination diet.
- Avoid all foods with wheat, corn, sugar, and soy for 2-3 weeks and replace them with protein, vegetables and heart healthy fats. Then test yourself with a whole wheat product without sugar, corn or soy for any symptoms.
- Slow down and chew your food, drink licorice root tea, and consider digestive enzymes to increase your digestive fire and allow your gut to heal while digesting all food completely.
- Come and see me for one on one nutritional therapy so we can find tune your digestive system to run like a high performance machine.
- Try my recipe for Gluten-Free Muffins and replace your morning dose of wheat and sugar with real nutritious food full of protein and healthy fat.